All the encouragement and beautiful sunny weather convinced me to wake up early on Sunday to go
jogging. Steve and I chose a nice, forested park with winding trails that caters to horses but
allows joggers as well.
As I began to run, I realized that I had not been jogging since high school, unless there was a
bus to catch or a class I was late for. I had never voluntarily gone running. So all my
running memories are wrapped up in a junior-high haze of hellish gym classes. My asthma hit when
I reached puberty in seventh grade, but it was not diagnosed until college. This made for
torture whenever a gym teacher decided to make us run The Mile. (Why was it always a mile? Never
more than one, never less.) I still have very visceral memories of trying to get my breath back
after struggling through four laps, of fighting dizziness and the urge to lay down. Of course I
couldn't just walk The Mile - everyone would have thought I was a wuss! So I ended up pushing
myself farther than I should have.
Not only that, but one time in seventh grade, someone told me I looked funny when I ran. And
with the amazing power that only a popular person's opinion in junior high can have, I modified
my running style to look more casual, less all-out. To this day, I still jog like that (when I'm
sprinting, I run more naturally).
So, I was hit with all these unpleasant memories as we started jogging. I found myself falling
into the pattern I had always followed: step, step, breathe in, step, step, breathe
out. Try that when jogging - you'll notice it's pretty fast breathing.
But then, a strange thing happened: it went away. My body warmed up fairly quickly, and I found
myself breathing more slowly. As I ran, I marveled at the fact that I was running and actually
felt okay. It was a big moment for me. I still had to use my inhaler a few times, and got a
little tired, but most of the time I found a good pace and stride that was fairly
Our stride was interrupted by a scary dog incident, though, and Steve
had to go easy on his (injured) legs, so we only ran about 2 miles. It was a good start, though
- I'd definitely go again. Having company really made a difference, too. I was much less bored
with someone to talk to, even if we only spoke a little.